When a family member or close friend suffers from the disease of addiction, it can be difficult to see the overall effects of the abuse and addiction on the entire family or social circle.
In some circumstances, we find excuses and patterns of behavior to justify certain activities, even going so far as to live under a delusional cloud.
We don’t believe that the worst will happen to us or to our family member. The fact of the matter is that the statistics are clear when it comes to drug abuse and addiction. If a member of our family is suffering from addiction, the worst can happen to them and getting treatment is incredibly important in order to beat the odds.
A 98.4 percent increase in the number of visits involving the nonmedical use of prescription drugs – such as Xanax, Vicodin and OxyContin – over a five-year period.
3.7 million individuals over the age of 21 years were seen in emergency departments for drug related issues; approximately 1.85 million of these individuals had abused the drugs for which they were being treated.
877,802 individuals aged 20 years or younger were treated in the ER for drug-related complications, and approximately 438,000 of these teenagers had abused drugs
Drug Abuse Among Teens
Every year since 1975, the Monitoring the Future Survey looks at the trends for drug abuse among our nation’s teens. The survey is conducted among 8th graders, 10th graders and high school seniors, and asks them about drug use and abuse over the course of their lifetime, as well as the 12 months and one month immediately preceding the survey. Most recently, they discovered that cigarette smoking has shown marked improvement in all grade levels.
Unfortunately, the survey does not have all good news for 2011. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are two distinct areas of concern for our nation’s youth. The first concerns marijuana use and a close second, prescription drug abuse.
According to the study, while marijuana use showed declines in previous years, more recently the numbers have increased. For instance:
12.5 percent of 8th graders indicated they abused marijuana in the year prior to the survey
18.8 percent of 10th graders indicated they abused marijuana in the year prior to the survey
36.4 percent of high school senior indicated marijuana abuse in the year prior to the survey
All grades indicated that students today do not consider marijuana use as having harmful effects
More than 10 percent of school-aged youth have used “spice” (synthetic marijuana) in the year prior to the survey
After marijuana abuse, the concern rests on prescription and over-the-counter medication abuse. Specifically, the abuse of OxyContin, a highly addictive form of hydrocodone, is unchanged from the previous five years. Approximately 8.2 percent of high school seniors have admitted to abusing stimulants in the year prior to the survey. As recently as 2009, this number was only 6.6 percent.
Interventions Can Help Addicts
There are many clichés that society often calls upon when dealing with an individual suffering from addiction. An addiction disease can sometimes cause family and friends to throw their hands in the air, crying, “They have to hit rock bottom before they will get help.” But what is rock bottom? For many addicts, rock bottom is the point at which they choose to get help. Something happens in their life that makes them want to get better so they will seek treatment for their disease. An intervention can be that “something that happens.”
Statistically, interventions for those who have been incarcerated have proven successful in several areas. Those addicts who did not choose to go to rehab but were encouraged or even forced to as a part of their sentence have shown:
Fewer instances of relapse
Less mental illness
Increased ability to function normally in society
Improved overall health and well-being
These individuals may not have wanted to participate in a recovery program, and might not have had circumstances been different. Ultimately, however, if the individual chooses to enter a treatment center because they are shown the benefits, no matter how they come to the final conclusion, they have a much greater chance to avoid relapse and improve their life.